By Colonel Awadhesh Kumar, Special Forces Veteran
The second batch of tactical support aircraft comprising 6x C-130J Super Hercules specially modified for Special Forces operations is expected to start arriving shortly at the country’s second hub for such aircraft at the Air Force Station Arjan Singh in Panagarh. The first hub is already well established at Hindon Air base near Delhi.
The arrival of second batch of C-130J at Panagarh is a major step in modernisation and strengthening of the Special Forces Operations in the Eastern Theatre. HQ of a Mountain Strike Corps of the Indian Army’s has also been raised and located at Panagarh. The arrival of the Super Hercules is going to add a new dimension to boost up the joint Army Air Force operations. This development comes with the standoff between India and China in Doka La near Bhutan tri-junction continuing since last three weeks.
Though meant only for Special Forces Operations, the air crafts at Hindon have been per force used for Humanitarian Rescue and Relief Operations and other such duties too. This is actually gross wastage of precious resources. As per a considered analysis, we need a minimum of six Squadrons of a military transport aircraft in the 20 tons capacity to build up the IAF’s capability to fight a two front war simultaneously. C 130 J fits this bill perfectly. These squadrons comprising 72 aircrafts in standard design are to be in addition to the 12 aircrafts specially modified for Special Forces Operations. In fact a third Special Forces hub in the South will require additional 06 x modified for SF operations C130 J.
Hence instead of lobbying for the sale of obsolete F16 to India, the US Senators need to smoothen the sale of MAKE IN INDIA of C130 J Hercules. Out of the 78 new air crafts required, 60 aircrafts can be produced in India and rest 18 can be directly supplied by the Lockheed plant in the USA. In case aircrafts are made in India then it will also give the capability to carry out all overhauls, repairs and modifications within the country.
With specially modified 18x C130 J, operating from three hubs covering North, South and East, our Special Forces Operational capability will get a super boost. The additional six squadrons will not only strengthen the much needed air lift capability for inter theatre movement of men and material for a two front war but will also boost our airborne warfare capability. Capability to airlift an entire parachute brigade together with its battle loads and carry out its aerial delivery in conjunction with thrust of a Strike Corps deep into the enemy will send shivers down the spine of any enemy coveting even an inch of Indian territory.